Very dark in color. A pleasant nose, with the cab franc coming to the surface above the cabernet sauvignon. This is not at all a fruit forward wine. The fruit lurks in the background and finishes deep in the rear of the mouth. The substantial contribution of the cab franc makes this a unique wine. It rounds out the taste of the wine and softens it, and the silky textures fits nicely with the taste and lingers through a very long finish. Drinking well now and will continue to evolve well for at least 5 years, and probably longer.
It's been 2-1/2 years since I last enjoyed this wine. A blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 31% Cabernet Franc. After close to ten years, this still has lots going on and it's still big and concentrated! Displays a solid, dark crimson color and a full bodied texture. Perfumed aromas and flavors of mixed black and evolving red currant, very ripe black berries, dark cherries, ripe plums, dark chocolate, tobacco , black coffee, and some earth tones, all wrapped around a solid, and well integrated core. Great balance, drinking at, or close to peak, with a solid finish. Held its own against a grilled ribeye steak. One of the better Napa Meritages I have had...excellent!
93-94 Range. Excellent with grilled steaks. This is at its peak but it should go for another 5+/- years IMHO. Tasting notes similar to prior notes. Green pepper was not noticeable and more mint / coffee grinds in addition to the blackberry, black currants, black cherry on the palate.
Double decanted and re-opened an hour later. The nose on this wine was quite striking from the get-go. Well balanced...fruit, emerging secondary flavors, acidity and tannin....really in a nice spot, displaying an certain elegance. It will be interesting to see what flavors develop with more time. 92-94
I think that this bottle of wine is probably the same as the last one I had. My mood and surroundings were less than ideal and therefore, the perception of a few points lower. Have one more and will make sure the situation is more favorable to enjoy this wine.
Still holding its own - decanted for an hour and we were greeted with dark fruits and a long finish. Day two - the front had softened somewhat but we were still pleasantly surprised by its overall heft. Glad that we have another bottle waiting for us next year.
Decanted for 2 hours - this wine rocked and went great with steaks. Did not take notes - 93-94 range (93 if forced for a hard number). Preferred the '05 Pintia enjoyed the night before but this is one of my favorite California Cab blend producers - they are able to marry the complexity / minerality of Bordeaux with pure California fruit. Need to buy more recent vintages from these guys.
Wasn't sold on this as ready until I had it with a nice bloody steak. The tannins are balanced and the cab franc really jumps when paired with food. Certainly not the single greatest wine I've had but really is nice with a properly paired meal.
Recent reviews led me to try another bottle, so I tried at pour, two, four and six hours of decanting. I think we're actually another year or two away from what I consider to be my peak of integration (where there's still some soft tannin action, but smooth).
Initially, the cab franc dominates with its "bite," which gives way to a balance that makes for a great drinking wine with pretty well integrated tannins, but just a little remaining bite on its moderately long finish. Certainly not enough to deter me from drinking, but just enough to lend itself to my aging decision. I do agree that the texture of this is developing into something outstanding - probably one of the more "velvet" textures I've had, other than some of the Anderson Conn Cabs from 2008.
Decanted for 1.5 hours - the nose is initially pretty tight on this bottle - served with grilled NY strips. On nose, red currants, green pepper, black cherry. On palate, black cherry, red currants, cedar with medium body, nice acids & sweet tannins noticeable on the very long finish. Has improved from 2 years ago and drinking great. 93-94 range.
Drank on New Years Eve and was blown away how this wine has come into its own. Fantastic from start to finish. Perfect balance and texture. A perfect compliment to my ribeye steak. Only wish had more of it.
Decanted for about an hour and a half which resulted in this wine really opening up. There was definitely an evolution over the time in the decanter. Dark fruit, earth, and cigar box on the nose. Palate is concentrated but not overdone. Dark black and blue fruits, cassis, tobacco, and loamy earth persist through a very long, elegant finish. Fine, well integrated tannins. In a GREAT place now and will be there for 5-8 years. ENJOY!
Decanted for some time prior to drinking: Very expressive nose with bright dark fruit, a hint of earth. Great, round mouthfeel and texture. Perhaps the palate did not quite live up to the promise of the nose, but that is a nit. The cab franc component added complexity, but this wine is well integrated and no way did it show green/herbal from the cab franc. Really in a good place, but should go longer.
Enjoyed at Bailey's Prime Plus in Fort Worth TX tonight with a 10oz rare steak, mushrooms, and jalapeno smoked gouda mashed potatoes. This wine is a monster. Vines are situated between St. Helena and Angwin / Howell Mountain in a tiny community called Deer Park. Wine is actually sub-Howell Mountain appellation but is just about as close as it comes and IMO deserves an "honorary" Howell Mountain designation. Uncorked with a BLACK stain on the cork - about 4mm of cork bleed. This is roughly a 2/3 Cab Sauv, 1/3 Cab Franc blend. A sample was sent to the glass with the remainder sent to a decanter for about 30 minutes (and was just starting to show by the time it was finished or else this would probably be a 94-95 point wine). The Cab Sauv and Franc both add their own particular characteristics to this wine but was very subdued on the nose and palate without decanting. Initial nose showed mountain fruit and lilac. On the tongue was acid, tobacco, smoke, leather all in front, and mountain fruit that was in the process of a crescendo with some vanilla in the middle and a high acid and heady yet oak finish. Yeah, this one needs to sit a while. After decanting, this wine showed very different. On the nose was very deep mountain fruit with some jasmine, lilac, lavender. The taste was nice up front with some good solid blackberry pie, currant, leather and a smoky characteristic building to the mid-palate when the earth started to kick in along with some very softened tannin. Cab Sauv kept earthy qualities from going overboard but that wonderful minerality was there and dancing in the mouth. The finish was a bit heady with some good firm, STRONG spicy characteristics, deep vanilla sweet mountain fruit that just stayed with you until the next sip. Of course those soft delicate but still very firm and present tannins kind of helped that one along. A dangerous wine for sure, I am not sure that it lasted 45 minutes from pop to complete consumption. NOT a pop and pour right now, needs probably another 5 years at least. If you enjoy this one now, please decant or else you'll miss quite a bit.
- Purple color with fast forming legs and aromas of blackberry, black currant and violet. It's in total harmony and has flavours of blackberry, black currant and licorice anise with a full body. Juicy texture with a long finish - @ Dutch w Geri and Roy Liemer. Decanted for 2 hrs, before traveling. Tight when opened. Will benefit from further aging.
Nice black fruit, tobacco, and vintage napa rustic aromas fill the nose. On the palette, this is a delish howell mountain cab/cab franc blend. Nice tannins and great length, this wine is pretty big but should settle down a little bit after an hour of decanting. Can't wait until dinner time!!! Prime Rib is on tap and I think it will pair nicely.
4 Hours later: Black fruit, light tobacco and luscious through the mouth. This wine has improved! Really nice, great finish. 93 updated.
Dark, deep purple to black color, full bodied and rich. Black currant and blackberry liqueur nose. Ripe black fruit, dark plums, vanilla with chewy tannins. Very nice finish with notes of dark chocolate.
Just the right blend of Cab Sav and Cab Franc (31%). Subtle on the nose, but opens nicely on the front end showing Cab Sav that evolves with Cab Franc and some tartness and food friendly acidity showing on the back end, but nothing that turned me off. I found that it added to the flavor profile in a subtle way and made for an elegant finish. Stand alone or right with food, this is everything that Cali is about. Would not hesitate to serve this tonight for a special occasion.
Since the bottle I last tasted in October 2010 not much has changed in my opinion of this wine....still really good but another 1-2 years of bottle age should soften and round the tannins a bit...very, very nice! This wine will last another 10 years in a good cellar
Decanted for about an hour and a half, then poured. Initially, the wine was fairly in-your face, with dark fruit, a hint of herb, and strong tannin with a long somewhat oaky finish. In another hour and a half or so, the wine rounded out considerably, with the tannin coming into balance, hints of the cab franc poking out, but never dominating, and a lingering finish with the oak coming into balance. This wine can certainly go for a good bit, and should get better. If drinking now, give it plenty of time, as it continued to show better at the four hour mark 92-93
This definitely needs some air to open up. Very muted nose and palate for the first 2 hours or so. Now with massive dark fruits, cassis, and a hint of tobacco on the nose. Fine, well intergrated tannins with concentrated cassis, black and blue fruit and a hint of acidity. Finish is long and mouth coating. Have a few more of these and will try to space them out over the next 2-3 years.
Very good grapes! Great nose of plum, blueberry, chocolate. Ruby red. Very complex mouth feel. Mocha, currant, cherry, black fruit flavors. Well balanced, elegant wine. Long finish. Still a bit tannic. I think another couple of years in the bottle will improve this wine.
this needs at least 3-4 hours of air time right now. came out initially very tart, almost sour, with none of the richness or creaminess that I experienced previously. the oak started showing up on the finish just before everything mellowed out, the last few sips of the first half of the bottle (second half saved for tomorrow) were just delicious, especially with a nice fragrant gouda. lots of forest fruit, a hint of oak, this is only going to get better over the next 3-5 years.
Interesting tension between the fruit and the tannins at this stage. Both are much in evidence, but neither overwhelms the other. Drinkable now, even enjoyably so, it shows intriguing balance in a youthful, exuberant manner, with great potential for a more complex, nuanced balance down the road. Hope I can resist popping another cork for a while.
Great wine - reddish / black color. Had with a grilled filet and decanted for 1.5 hours (more time is better with this wine) before dinner. Initially the nose was muted with herbal overtones - with airtime, blackberry (morphing to red fruits with time), tobacco, cigar box & green pepper. Palate was consistent except fruit (red & black) was more prominent. Full dodied, with excellent balance, and firm tannins on the long finish - this wine will sing in a few years. The wife loved it as did I - one of the best wines I have had in 2010. Interesting to see how this would perform with Bordeaux in a blind tasting - 91-93 range - showing 93 given where I see this wine in a few years.
Nose of black currant and tobacco. Still a bit tannic on the palate but not over powering. Full bodied and dark purple color. Nice finish of dark bitter chocolate. Given some bottle age, this will be an unforgettable wine...excellent now.
This was a great bottle. Decanted for an hour and drink over the next two with steaks at Max's Chophouse. Started with bubbles and a white CdP before having this alongside an '03 Mount Veeder Reserve. Both bottles were really nice bottles and great parings with the steak. I liked the Viader a little bit more and I think this will get better with time. I have five more and will probably wait a year or two before opening the next one.
A little harsh upon pop & pour, with a some oak which needed to resolve. After 1-2 hours, it was very Bordeaux-like, smoother tannins, nice fruit on the nose and in the mouth. I will probably wait at least a year before drinking more of this. I suspect that it can evolve into a 92-94 point wine, given several more years.
Wine does need time to open, but then assumes the qualities of a very nice Bordeaux. The Cab Franc can overpower early with its spiciness, but let that settle and the cranberry, raspberry, strawberry and red plum fruits blend nice with the hot spice. Solid finish.
Brilliant! Deep purple black hole in a glass! No light escapes.Cab Franc Floral aspects are very prominent and welcome to the party with floral and ripe fruit. Pomagranet and lovely lillies. Lots of Cherry and Creme de Cassis on this show stopper. There was a great mouthfeel here, something like oak bathed in Creme Freche. Very pleasant to drink on its own right or paried with some fine grilled beef. This is definitely a wine to seek out and cherish. It offers alot of depth and vibrance in the same glass! Bravo!
Exactly what I expected. Tight at first but opened up nicely after the first hour. I wouldn't pair this with any heavy foods, it may be overwhelmed. Gentle yet fulfilling, smooth with structure, overall a great bottle of wine.
South American and American Wines; 12/6/2009-12/7/2009 (Wine Gallery): Hazeline snow cream! with a touch of soy sauce. Still a bit tight. Quite classically bordeaux but in a warmer vintage. Lovely balance, nicely integrated oak. Now this is at least almost worth its weight in price. This tastes like a really well made modernistic bordeaux. Bright but mellowing warmth of black and blue fruits. French oak. Quite classy.
Pop and pour, with half in the decanter and half remaining in the bottle. While Rose liked the strength of the undecanted portion, showing younger with more of an alcohol presence, I thought that the decanted or vinturi'd portion showed fine-grained tanins that provided a nice muscular depth and complexity with the ability to age for years. The wine really developed during a 4 hour window into a gorgeous wine.
WOW! Blockbuster wine! Opened (not decanted) for two hours before first pour. Served with shrimp cocktail, gruyere cheese and crackers, baked bire and crusty french bread. Wonderful aroma of cranberries mixed with cigar box and other red fruits. Silky smooth in the mouth but still a firm structure that should last for years. 8 of us loved this wine.
I am amazed by how smooth and balanced this wine is. Truly one of the best I have had. This was one time I did not worry about how the wine tasted but just enjoyed how it made me feel- which was relaxed and very happy.